IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 23, 2018
Mr. Thune introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To improve the Cooperative Observer Program of the National Weather Service, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018.
Improvements to Cooperative Observer Program of National Weather Service
The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, acting through the National Weather Service, shall improve the Cooperative Observer Program by—
providing support to—
State-coordinated programs relating to the Program; and
States and regions where observations provided through the Program are scarce;
working with State weather service headquarters to increase participation in the Program and to add stations in States and regions described in paragraph (1)(B);
where feasible, ensuring that data streams from stations that have been contributing data to the Program for more than 50 years are maintained and continually staffed by volunteers;
prioritizing the recruitment of new volunteers for the Program;
ensuring that opportunities exist for automated reporting to lessen the burden on volunteers to collect and report data by hand; and
ensuring that integrated reporting is available for qualitative observations that cannot be automated, such as snow observations and hazardous weather events, to ensure that volunteers in the Program can report and upload observations quickly and easily.
Coordination with States and regions
Not less frequently than every 180 days, the National Weather Service shall coordinate with State and regional offices with respect to the status of Cooperative Observer Program stations.
Coordination with Federal agencies
The National Weather Service shall coordinate with other Federal agencies, including the Forest Service, the Department of Agriculture, and the United States Geological Survey, to leverage opportunities to grow the Cooperative Observer Program network and to more effectively use existing infrastructure, weather stations, and staff of the Program.